It's nightime. I'm sitting in a diner booth. Laree sits down opposite me. She places her coat beside her.
ME; "What have you been doing? I've been here for hours."
LAREE; "I quit drinking, so decided to go Buffalo Wing hopping...they say this city has the best in the world, What do you think Rich?"
ME; "I'll have some too."
I motion to a server. She comes over and I order Buffalo Wings.
LAREE; "You know you don't have to patronize me Rich, you've probably had lots of Buffallo wings in your life, it's kind of a personal thing to me"
ME; 'I like them too. How did Buffallo Wings get to be a personal thing with you?"
LAREE; "I can't really explain it, but I'm sure you have a few things in your life that you can't quite articulate...so why did you want to meet me here tonight?"
ME; "Just to talk. You can pick a subject if you want to."
LAREE' "Let's talk about tomorrow, I want to do something different besides wake up and pass the time...any ideas?"
ME; "I'll probably come here tomorrow. I like it here."
LAREE; "You do seem to spend a lot of time here, I don't get it."
ME; "I was born. I have to be somewhere. I can't go to a distant planet where I could find something normal. So I'm here. This place has the advantage of food and drink. And it's warm and safe too."
LAREE; "Yeah, well to tell you the truth, I'm a little sick and tired of being warm and safe! I need to do something with my life and quick."
ME; "You have an urgent life. You can't just sit. You always have to be doing something. What do you have to do right now?"
The server returns with our Buffalo Wings and places them on the table.
"Do you have an urgent need to eat your favorite food?"
LAREE; "Yes, I do have an urgent need to eat that food, but then once I have, it's like I have to move on to the next thing, I can't just sit here like you night after night, same food, same waitress It makes me feel ..... empty. Don't you ever feel empty Richard?"
ME; "There's nothing out there. We're doomed. The only thing that can help you is a cat or two or three or four."
She's eating the wings. I dig in too.
LAREE; "There is something out there...otherwise I wouldn't want it so bad. I have to say these chicken wings are by far the best I've tasted. So what are you doing after this?"
ME; "I don't have any plans. What do you want to do?"
LAREE; "Hey...you want to go test drive a car?"
ME; "I don't have a license. I can drive but I haven't driven in years. I really wouldn't want to test drive a car anyway. I'm really not into excitement. I talk to people. I'm interested in what they think about and how they think things out. It's just a thing. I can't explain it - it's much like how you feel about Buffalo Wings."
LAREE; "Is that how my life is going to be remembered the girl who liked buffalo wings?"
ME; "I think so. I'll order some more. They're the only happiness you have."
I motion to the server to bring more wings. She nods 'Yes.'"
LAREE; "I got an idea...how about we have a Lord of the Rings marathon tonight, and we can make our own chicken wings?"
ME; "What's a Lord of the Rings marathon?"
LAREE; "The movie trilogy...seriously, you had to ask?"
ME; "Oh. I've never seen it. We can do that if you want to."
LAREE; "You never heard of it, huh. So what kind of movies do you like, ones where two people sit across from each other and talk all night? Personally, I like a little action."
ME; "I've heard of it. What I said was, I haven't seen it. I don't have any interest in action films but if you want me to watch it with you it's okay."
LAREE; "I don't want to force you. How about we just go for a walk around the city, untill we get tired, make fun of people and get buffalo wings?"
ME; "Okay." "I don't make fun of people. We can walk around if you want to."
The server brings the second order of wings and places them on the table.
ME; "We were just talking about getting wings and here they are."
LAREE; "Yes, here they are. What do you mean you don't make fun of people-I don't believe that for a minute. Admit it Rich...you're a passive aggressive critic that laughs silently behind unassuming gesture."
ME; "Really? Well, that's just incredible. I didn't know I did that. Maybe you're right though. Okay, I'm ready to make unassuming gestures. Do you want to get these wings to go?"
LAREE; "Good idea, let's take them to go."
ME; "I'll take them to the server and ask her to fix them up."
I go see the sever, the cashier, the server again and return to Laree. We grab our coats and exit the door.
ME; "Where are we going?"
LAREE; "We're just walking. How did we ever meet anyway?"
ME; "At the subway station on Cristopher Street and Sheridan Square.
LAREE; "That's right, the subway...itjust seems like we've known each other for much longer. Anyplace in particular you can think of that would be fun to walk to? I just don't know this area as well as you do."
ME; "Just walk around I suppose. Do you live near here?"
LAREE; "Not to far, would you like to come over and see some of my artwork?"
ME; "Sure. I like art. Is it what peoplke call contemporary?"
LAREE; "Not at all, I'd say it's a cross between Monet...and Tarantino."
ME; "I know Monet is an impressionist from the late 1800s. I'm not familiar with Tarantino. I tried art. I wasn't very good at it."
We continue to walk. She turns at a corner. I turn with her. We're quiet now. There're people on the street, so we're fairly safe We turn again. And walk. She stops at an old brownstone, opens her purse, extracts a key, walks up a set of steps to the front door, opens it and enters the vestibule of the building. I follow her. The door swings shut behind us. She uses another key to open a second door which enters into the first floor hallway with a staircase on the left. We walk up 5 flight of stairs and down a hall. She stops at a door, opens it and walks in. She holds the door for me and then closes and locks it. She turns on the lights and walks past me into the kitchen. I walk to the kitchen and hand her the buffalo wings. There are in stacks of canvases in a studioroom. I go over and look at them. It's like she said, they're impressionist and something else.
She comes over and stands a little to my side.
LAREE; "Do you see anything you like."
ME; "They're appealing and fun. Right now, I can't buy anything."
AREE; "Can I get you something to drink?"
ME; "Do you have a Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper? Nothing Diet."
LAREE; "Sorry, I don't drink soda. How about some ice tea or coffee?"
ME; "Ice tea sounds good, thankyou."
There's a couch against one of the walls. I place my coat on it. Laree hangs hers in a closet and goes into the kitchen again. I sit down on the couch.
Laree yells from the kitchen
"So are you married, girlfriend, kids?"
ME; "No, none of those."
She reenters the studioroom.
LAREE; "Well, here's your tea. So what do you do to entertain yourself in this city?"
I set the tea down on a little coffee table that's in front of the couch. She sits down at the other end of the couch. She has tea too.
ME; "I though you knew. I mostly hang out at the diner. I don't go to concerts or singles bars or discos. I don't look for sex partners. I don't belong to any organizations. I don't engage in any political activites. You spoke the truth when you said I'm silently laughing at all of them with unassuming gestures. I'm really amazingly different but people don't usually notice."
"What about you? You want to do more than just pass the time of day. You have an urgent need to do things. What do you want to do?"
LAREE; "I don't want to sit around waiting for my turn to die, I guess I want to make a difference in the world. You seem almost inhuman?"
ME; "Oh, that's what you're talking about. Making a difference. That's what everyone talks about. You're a conformist. You can't make a difference if you want to make a difference because then you're a conformist. People who are all the same must always do the same things over and over again. Conformists can never change anything. It's the nature of conformaty."
LAREE;"I suppose you're right. It's funny the harder one tries to non-conform they become a conformist in the sense that they secretly want to be a non-conformist just like everyone else. How do you think I should cure myself of that annoying behavior?"
Me; "Just stop saying you want to make a difference. Can you do that?"
LAREE; "Do nothing...NO, I can't do that. Why would you choose to just do nothing?"
ME; "What do you think you're doing? It's all in your imagination. You just like to think you're doing something. It's mass hysteria. You're a conformist. And, as we just finished talking about, conformist can't change anything just because they're like everyone else."
"Anyway, what do you think you're doing? There's nothing to do. It's just so incredible that you continue to believe you're doing saomething when your really not."
LAREE; "I don't think you've heard a word I said Rich, I want to do something...don't you get that?"
ME; "I've been listening to you. You didn't answered my question. What do you want to change? And how are you going to change this mystery thing of yours? You don't understand you're just parroting other people words. The words of the ruling interlectuals, writers, theatre, movie and TV people. And the Preacher Man. They want you to be a conformist. It's how they make thier living. Without a scam, they'd all starve to death. They certainly can't do any real work. What do you want to change anyway?"
LAREE; "I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out, and you're not helping me feel any better about it. How about we just watch a movie or something, my head hurts."
ME; "Okay. Do you ever watch the History Channel?"
LAREE; "You want to watch the History Channel? I think I need to start drinking again."
ME; "You pick something."
LAREE; "Really! I'm surprised you agreed to that."
ME; "I can't argue with you. You threatened to go back to drinking if you had to watch the Discovery Channel."
LAREE; "You mean the History Channel. OK. I'm going to heat up the chiicken wings. Just get whatever you wan't."
She gets up and goes into the kitchen. I turn on the TV and go to the History Channel. They're showing a story about an Orson Wells radio broadcast of the 1930s. Laree returns with the chicken wings. She puts them on the coffee table and sits.
ME; "This looks interesting. It's about a radio show of the 1930s. It was done by Orson Wells. The radio show sounded like a news broadcast. It was about an alien invasion. People thought it was real - that aliens were coming up the street. They got in their cars and ran away."
Laree; "Talk about a bunch of sheep! Can you believe people actually thought we were being invaded by aliens?"
ME; "That is weird. I can understand why people would want to leave this Planet of the Damned, but I can't understand why anyone would want to come here."
LAREE; "That was the funniest thing you said all night! I think they just want our bodies, that's what most aliens want from us."
ME; "What are they going to do with them?"
LAREE; "I think they like to use us as hosts, it's how they get their kicks."
ME; "I suppose."
LAREE; "The thought is intriguing but when it comes right down to it, I would never want to be violated or abducted by an alien."
ME; "Do you think that's worse than being abducted or violated by humans."
LAREE; "Good point, I've never actually met one but something tells me they would treat us like bug specimens. Do you ever wonder why the US has the highest volume of sightings?"
ME; "Why do you think that is?"
LAREE; "Possibly, that our media system has created in us a thirst for sensationalism like no other country."
ME; "I suppose that's true."
We're quiet for awhile - just watching the film version of 'War of the Worlds.'
LAREE; "Orson Welles seems like an interesting character, kind of a dark person. Who's your favorite director? Pass the wings please."
I push the wings over to her end of the coffee table
ME; "I don't really have one. I used to, years ago, before I got dissalusioned with the works of Hollywood. Who are yours'?"
LAREE; "I like Quinton Tarintino, because he's fearless. Who was the one you liked before you got all cynical?"
ME; "Now that I thnk of it I do have a favorite director. He's dead now. He's Italian. I'm speaking of Fellini. I've never seen the films of Tarintino. I proably wouln't like them. It's been years since I've seen a film I like. I don't go to movies anymore or watch anything on TV exceapt the History Channel and a few others."
LAREE; "Fellini was magical! What was your favorite movie of his?"
ME; "All of them. Do you have them?"
LAREE; "La Dolce Vita was one of my favorites, amazing cinematography for it's time. It seems the Italians have always been pretty good with their cameras, they have a real eye for beauty."
ME; "I'd really like to see it again. Can you click something and get it?"
LAREE; "Damn we're out of chicken wings Rich! I can't watch a movie without them."
ME; "I could go to a grocery store and get some."
LAREE; "You're a doll, sure you don't mind?"
ME; "It's okay. I'll be back in a little while."
I leave, go to a grocery store and buy 4 pounds of frozen chicken wings. They're fresh. The expiration date is a week away. I return. Laree buzzes me in, I climb the stairs, walk down the hall, to her door, and ring. She lets me in and I hand her the chiken wings.
Laree takes them into the kitchen.
I go to the studioroom and sit down on the couch again. There's something new on the TV. I put on the History Channel again. War of the Worlds is gone. Now there's a story about the fifteenth century explorer Magellan.
She reenters the studioroom and sits.
LAREE; "Well they should be ready in about 30 minutes. What are you watching now?"
ME; "It's about a fifteenth century explorer. He's the first person to sail around the world. Kind of. He gets killed in the Philippines but some of his crew make it back. One of his ships makes it back. He started with 5. He sailed Westward from Spain. Just like Columbus. They were at it for a couple of years. His name is Magellan."
LAREE; "Sounds pretty interesting, I can't imagine being stuck on a boat that long."
ME; "They didn't have anything else to do. You start out, you do some things - the next thing you know you're on a boat for 2 years. Life can be like that. You just never know."
LAREE; "You know I kind of like that idea, guess that's the real adventure not having it all planned out."
ME; "I've had lots of adventures - all of them horrible."
LAREE; "Really, I would love to hear one of them?"
ME; "I can't possibly accomatedate you. It would just be too painful for me. My life is not an open book. You can talk about your own adventures if you want to."
LAEEE; "Oh, come on Rich, just one.
ME' "I can't."
We're quiet now - just watching Magellan on TV.
LAREE; "I'm going to go check on the wings.
She returns from the kitchen with a spoonfull of sauce, hands it to me and sits.
LAREE; "Tell me what you think of this blackberry chipolata sauce, kind of sacreligious to use it on wings around this town."
I swallow the sauce and hand the spoon back to her.
ME; "It tastes really good Laree."
LAREE;,"That's all you can say?"
ME; "What do you want me to say?"
She goes back to the kitchen, returns with a platter of wings, sets them on the coffee table and sits.
Magellan gets killed in the Phillippines. His crew sails away. There're looking for the Spice Islands - islands occupied by the Portugese. Soon, most of these ill fated voyagers will follow the fate of their heroic captain.
We watch TV and eat the wings. Magellan is gone. Now we're watching a story about the first roller berings. It's pretty interesting. Roller berings were invented by the Kelts 200 years b.c.e. They made them out of hardwoods. Archeologists, digging in an old tomb, discovered them in the wheels of a Chiftains chariot.
ME; "Do you like The Chiftains Chariot - or would you rather empty a bottle? Ha, ha."
LAREE; "I would rather empty a bottle of Irish whiskey."
ME; "You're really funny Laree You make me laugh. Watch whatever you want. I'm okay with it."
LAREE; "Let's just channel surf for a few minutes."
ME; "We could listen to music. Do you have a Pink Floyd album?"
LAREE; "Ha..I'm surprised I never would have guessed you're a Pink Floyd Fan? I don't have any of their music, how about Depeche Mode?"
ME; "I never heard of them but put it on."
She puts on the album and we listen.
ME;"This is torture."
LAREE; "Well...I have some Death Cab for Cutie, do you like them?"
ME; "Do they make you feel less empty?"
LAREE; "They make me want to learn how to play a musical instrument, do you play any?"
ME; "No. Why do you want to do that?"
LAREE' "I don't really, I just said they make me feel like wanting to play one, you know in the moment type thing."
ME; "Tell me about Tarantino."
She doesn't say anything. I get up, grab my coat and exit the apartment. I go down the stairs, to the street, and home.